Prioritizing MLB-ready over high-ceiling.
This was a big concern just a month ago and remains one for me.
Picollo himself said that an ideal trade return includes players that "are major-league ready or close to major-league ready." That piqued a lot of interest, considering the organization's lack of high-end talent across the board. But Picollo said this more than a month ago, so his plans and perception could have changed. The best-case scenario for the Royals at this trade deadline includes acquiring talent, no matter if it is MLB-ready or not.
"We just have to stay with that process," Picollo said, "and play the long game rather than the short game."
The front office toed this line well with the Chapman trade. They netted two prospects, one that can contribute to the major league club and another who has the talent only international free agent money can buy. Ragans looked good in his debut, and 17-year-old outfielder Roni Cabrera is absolutely abusing Dominican Summer League pitching. Since joining the Royals, Cabrera is posting a 1.200 OPS and 186 WRC+. Is that only in six games? Yes. Was he putting up similar numbers with the Rangers? Also yes.
The point being, the Royals simply need talent across the board. The competitive window looks more like 2025 or 2026 as of right now. That includes players in A-ball, including Frank Mozzicato, Cayden Wallace, and Ben Kudrna. The Royals need to find talent behind that group and also ahead of it. Also, prioritizing MLB-ready players over talented players is not portraying confidence in the developmental staff. Trading for unpolished players and turning them into polished prospects is the best way to earn Royals fans' trust again in this developmental staff. After all, there are some possible success stories waiting in the wings in Nebraska.